No sewing or embroidery to share today, but the start of a new project. It may look like a fabric jumble sale, but these fabrics all have some kind of memory attached to them.
There are blowsy roses, delicate flowers, embroidered patterns...
...a piece of the material which was Mum's wedding dress, a shiny blue taffeta which Mum wore as a bridesmaid and my blue and white puffed sleeve dress material too...
Shiny florals which were carefully made into dolls' dresses by Granny and a red floral which may have once been a skirt.
I am intending to use little bits of them to create patchwork - perhaps hearts, but I haven't quite decided yet. Instead of these pieces from my past being in a box, at least I will be able to see them and enjoy the memories. I am sure I have set myself quite a challenge, with different thicknesses to work with, but I can always use to interfacing to help them behave better (well, that's the plan). So, here's to my first foray into patchwork!
I decided to give myself a bit of a creative challenge with my polymer clay skills. I have been wanting to make some flowers for quite a while, so went onto some internet tutorials to see how it was done. It all looked reasonably simple, so off I went to have a go. Let me tell you, it is not simple at all! Here are my first attempts at a sort of grape hyacinth (following the tutorial from make it with me) but my attempt isn't nearly as pretty as hers. Of course, this is my first attempt and it will no doubt get better if I practise!
Having mixed some nice purple shades, I thought I would try a simple flower shape. Even that wasn't as easy as I thought. Practise, practise, practise!
Here are some beads which I am really pleased with (good to end on an optimistic note). I have been struggling with using translucent polymer clay as my attempts hadn't quite worked out as I had hoped. However, when watching Jewellery Maker one day, there was a polymer clay designer and she showed how to make foil beads using translucent clay. I had a go, using silver foil over a variety of colours of clay that were in my scrap box and lo and behold...success! I can't tell you how pleased I was with these.
One of my lovely blog followers, Anne, suggested I should make some bird decorations in Spring colours and I thought this was a great idea. Although I have lots of Easter decorations, I don't have that many Spring ones. So, before I move on to my next project (and I haven't yet decided what that will be), I thought I would make three more birds in Spring-like colours.
Here they are, two done and one left to make. They do seem to look very different from the Winter ones, even though it is the same pattern and the same embroidery shape (give or take a bit of human error). It's all down to the choice of colours. So, just the yellow one to finish and on to the next project...
Stitching Sunday is here again and I have finished my bird and snowflake decorations at last...
Here they all are and I am pleased with the way they have turned out, although there was one alteration along the way. I originally made this bird shape below in the blue felt and embroidered stars on him. However, seeing him on the tree with the others, I noticed he wasn't hanging straight and he was just too different from the others, so jarred a little.
I unpicked him and cut him out into the same shape as the others, adding a similar swirly pattern.
Much better, I think!
Yesterday, in our local bead shop, we saw some felt balls at 10 for £1.50. Now I know what you're thinking - 'you make felt, Ellie, so why didn't you make some?' - I should have made some but actually, I couldn't make them as cheaply as that.
We chose some pale colours which would go with the other decorations. To allay some of my guilt for buying them, today I decided to pretty them up and put my own stamp on them.
Here they are, after being prettified. I have sewn sequins on three and done swirly embroidery on the other three. The flash doesn't help in picking out the details, but hopefully you can see some. Now all they need is a hanging loop and then I hope the tree will be finished! (As it has taken me quite a while to make the winter decorations, I may keep them up until nearer the end of March).
On Sunday, my good friends Katy and Alison and I set off for our first garden visit of the year to Hodsock Priory, to look at the snowdrops. We have been visiting there for quite a number of years now. Above is the lovely gatehouse.
The woodland walk with the drifts of snowdrops is what Hodsock is known for and they are very beautiful. There were a lot of the double snowdrops this year.
This bit of woodland made me think of fairies or hobbits!
There are also a lot of cyclamen coum in their lovely shades of pink and white.
This was one of the larger snowdrops - S. Arnott.
Narcissus Cedric Morris was flowering away on this bank.
The spidery flowers of witch hazel looked vibrant against the blue sky (when it eventually appeared).
These trees looked as though they were going to be felled, but made a statuesque addition against the sky. They reminded me of the totem sculptures by Henry Moore which I saw at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park back in 2008.
Here's a photo I took from the 2008 visit - can you see why the trees reminded me of these?
The bare trunks do look rather majestic.
More of Henry Moore's sculptures at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2008.
When the sun came out, it did make some rather nice shadows across the clumps of cyclamen.
Here's a snowdrop which Katy very kindly bought for me - I love the blob of green (no, I won't be turning into a galanthophile, but I did like this pattern). This one is Galanthus Elwesii and will be added to my garden soon. It was lovely to be out and about.
Well, I have managed to totally confuse myself (not difficult to do!)with Stitching Sundays this week. As I would be out on Sunday, I did my stitching on Saturday but then didn't have the chance to write the post until now. Anyway, moving quickly on...
Here's the next three decorations - another little bird and two more snowflakes. I have one more snowflake to do and then I am thinking that some pom pom snowball decorations might be just the thing I need to fill up the seasonal tree. I used back stitch and split stitch on these decorations and I am pleased with the way they have turned out. I do like this combination of colours - normally, bright colours seem to appeal most, but these blues, greys and whites seem to be working well for me too.
I signed up to take part in Tracy's (from Mad about Bags) 'Send a little love swap' in January and was partnered with the lovely Melanie (from The Patchwork Robin). We needed to send a minimum of 5 things, including a heart shaped/themed thing, a delicious edible, something handmade and something red. As is usual for a blog swap, we emailed each other to arrange dates for the swap and to find out whether there was anything we shouldn't include. Then we got on with making, choosing and buying. Swaps were duly wrapped up and posted and then received. Here's what Melanie sent me...
...beautifully packaged in red and gold. It was so exciting!
What was inside those parcels? A beautiful hand made notebook cover around a very useful notebook, chocolates and jelly hearts, a little red bucket containing some CK tissues and some pink heart ribbon, a white heart decoration and two sweet little heart-shaped tart tins.
Here's a view of the inside of the notebook. I was so lucky to receive such lovely things and would like to say a HUGE thank you to Melanie for her generosity. So, what did I send her?
Red heart cotton material and heart pins, ribbon, buttons, washi tape, notebook, some flower seeds, stickers, heart cutters, a heart ceramic magnet, some hot chocolate and some chocolates, a bracelet, some earrings, a felt heart and a polymer clay heart. I did wrap the presents in heart gift wrap, but forgot to take a photo.
Thanks to Tracy for organising the swap, which was great fun and thanks to Melanie for being a great swap partner.
I have made a little progress with my winter decorations today, while listening to the radio and watching television (not all at the same time, I hasten to add!)
Here are my bird decorations made from my hand made felt and then embroidered with simple patterns. I really enjoyed making them as they were quick to make and I am really pleased with the finished decorations.
You can see I used a purple pen to draw a rough guide, but it didn't really like the felt much, so it was very much a guide. It should fade in a day or so. I used back stitch for this pattern and straight stitch to make the stars on the blue bird. I have a couple more to make and some more snowflake decorations too.